First Cone of Shame

It never fails that Shay gets a hot spot on a Sunday when the vet is closed. She had been acting strangely yesterday, but we didn’t notice where she was licking the hair off a place on her backside until it was raw. I sent Russ to buy her a cone of shame after Church today.

Shay has never had to wear a cone before so she didn’t find us putting it on her, but once it was on she looked at us as if we betrayed her. I tried to tell her is was a softer cone with windows for peripheral vision than most, but she wasn’t having any of it.

Shay kept running into walls as she tried her best to navigate the house. Between the hot spot and the cone getting comfortable was not easy for her. The only good thing is she had no trouble eating her food as the cone fit over her whole bowl.

Morning can’t come fast enough for me to call the vet and get Shay seen. Being a puppy Mom is normally joyful, but sometimes it is hard when you can’t explain why you appear to be torturing her.

Don’t Be Lonely

I’ve been reading a lot about how lonely people are these days. There was a sad news story about a man who died alone in his house and no one knew for weeks because he had no close friends or relatives and no one checked on him. This loss of belonging to any sort of community is not just an American thing, but it certainly will continue to add to the down fall of America.

Some people blame social media for making us less actually connected. Yes, it is easy to not have to talk with real people if you can just read about them, but that cannot be the only cause of the increase in loneliness.

I feel like we live in a delivery world. If you want something, someone just brings it to you. People don’t have to go to a restaurant to eat or the movies to see a film and they just get lazy and stay home. Being lonely is something that happens to you when you don’t work at being friends and making new friends gets much harder the older you get. Also, as you age your friends don’t always live as long as you do and there is not much you can do about that, except get younger friends.

There are lots of places you can go to combat loneliness, like the senior center, if you are old enough, the YMCA, clubs, the library, you can volunteer at non-profits, or you can join a church. Church membership is way down. I first blame the evangelical movement for pushing out people who are not right wing or sheep-like followers. Some churches attract people of narrow vision and are not welcoming to people with varying opinions. This has hurt church membership as a whole.

I feel very lucky (notice I did not say blessed, a term I feel has been co-opted by the right) that we have a church made of many different kinds of people with a spectrum of beliefs. No one at our church tells you what to believe. The one thing I particularly enjoy about our church is that we are a community. I know more people, of all ages I would never have any other contact with if we did not go to church together. My church is one of the best antidotes to loneliness, not that this has been an issue for me yet, but I am getting older.

No one is going to create a community for you. You have to do it for yourself. Don’t wait until you are all alone. Make sure you join something and belong. No one should die and not have no one notice.

Don’t Preempt Regular TV

A touch of winter finally came to North Carolina after we have had spring for the last eight weeks. The snow paranoids came out if full strength even though the temperature was 39 when the snow started falling at 4:30. The ground was so warm that despite snowing for the last three hours nothing is sticking to the roads. This constitutes a rain event to me.

Yes, the grass is white, but no shoveling is needed since every hard surface is just wet. Given this situation it is fine for everyone to stay home and eat all the bread, eggs and milk they went to the store to buy. They will be fine since they have at least a dozen rolls of toilet paper that they picked up with the bread.

I went out at five to get my nails done. Driving was not an issue going or coming home. While I was out I thought I should pick up some lemons for the soup I made earlier in the day. Thank goodness for the express lanes. There was only one man in front of me because we were the only people not stocking up for the “snow storm” and I use that term loosely. He was buying emergency olives. I guess he already had vodka for martinis. Some people don’t think French toast when the weather man says we are getting snow.

Russ and I met up at home and enjoyed the soup I made for dinner, except for one thing that really makes me crazy here. The local TV station preempted the National News and Jeopardy to run local snow coverage. What the F$&#! It’s not even sticking. Show us what is going on in the real world.

It’s not a weather emergency. No hurricane is coming in. There are no tornadoes. It is at most two inches of snow and that is only on the grass. Please God, shake some sense into the local TV stations.

Just to prove how unimportant this is as a weather issue they just spent two minutes showing people how to make snow cream.


Today was a day that I did a lot of number crunching, writing and meeting about financial things for organizations and thus did nothing fun, nor productive for myself or my family. I am not begrudging my work on behalf of others, just feeling guilty for what I consider to be a lack of productivity. It’s that Protestant work ethic thing, which is misnamed because I think most religious communities encourage hard work on behalf of others.

Anyway, by the time I got home around seven from my last meeting I was tired and went up to my bedroom to change into soft clothes. My house was perfectly clean, everything in sight was in its rightful place, I had nothing to feel too guilty about for not doing any house work today.

That fantastical thought was totally dispelled when I opened my closet to hang up my clothes. There strewn across the floor of my little closet were all the shoes I wear regularly in a jumble. I looked up on the wall of the closet and there in perfect order are my perfectly organized never worn shoes.

This is insane I thought. I have racked shoes that I have not even tried on to consider wearing taking up the prime real estate in my high rent area of my closet and the tried and true always go to shoes I wear weekly are thrown in a pile, mixed up together. Tomorrow first thing I am going to make a change.

I am removing all the never worn shoes and am going to do something with them, give them away, sell them, donate them, anything but allow them to live in a beloved state they don’t deserve. Then I am going to take my comfy, go-to pairs and elevate them to a place of honor on the rack.

I think this is a common occurrence for me. I need to consider what I cherish and discard what is realy unimportant. I need to value things for not what they cost, but for the joy they bring. I may not have actually been productive today, but I did achieve clarity and there is something to that.

Recovered for My Friends David and John

There are some days you just have to be well for and today was one of them. Four or five months ago my friend of 35 years, JohnMcLarty called and asked if he and my friend David, friend of just 32 years, could come and visit and go to see an Opera Recital on this day. Of course I said yes. John and David had told us about this tenor Lawrence Brownlee whom they follow all over the world, so we got tickets.

When I got sick in Boston my first thought was of this long planned visit from John and David and would I be well enough for it. Thankfully they were not staying with me since John works for Hilton and they love hotels. The plan was for me to pick them up today at 2 and come back to my house, then to dinner with Russ and the concert in Raliegh.

I was not 100 percent this morning so I laid low, ate a little apple sauce and saw how I was doing. I was beginning to feel better, but did not want to push myself and relapse. I had a little chicken broth and I thought, I’m good.

John and David are like brothers to me. They came and played with Shay and we talked and I knew I was fine, but I still kept my distance from them for their own sake. We had dinner at the irregardless cafe and Russ made it on time to join us. There was a lovely girl singing there tonight and that was a good warm up for us. I ate some real food and all was good.

We went off to the Fletcher to hear Lawrence. It was a heavy show of German in the first half and the English half was called Cycles of my Being, a very atonal and dark group of works. He is a fabulous tenor, but it was not an uplifting performance. Lawrence did two happy encores which lifted the spirits in the audience.

I dropped John and David off at their airport hotel as they have an early flight and all too quickly our little visit was over. With it being such a short one I am so happy that I recovered just in the nick of time for it. Now they just have to come back for a longer visit with some happier music.

Lost Day

It’s been a terrible 30 hours, but thanks to Carter for taking care of me. Yesterday we had a fun morning going to brunch and then the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. Carter had been skeptical that it was worth our time since the Museum of Fine Arts is right across the way and is a fabulous museum, but we did end up loving the Gardener. It was very crowded, but as we waited in lines to get into different rooms I was able to tell Carter about the big art heist from the museum in 1990.

13 works of art were stollen in the middle of the night by two men posing as police. The value of the works stollen is over $500 million dollars. The museum keeps the empty frames up to show where they will go if they are ever recovered. Mrs. Gardener left the museum in her will with the stipulation that everything in it remains exactly where she left it so I don’t think the museum could put other paintings in the place of the stolen ones anyway.

There were two things I loved about the museum, the court yard with beautiful orchids and the birds, both sculptural and live. Gardener had to be quite a pistol. One quote she is famous for is, “Don’t spoil a good story with the truth.” If your name is Isabella you get in the museum for free.

After our time at the museum we went back to Carter’s and it was then that I started to feel bad. I took a little nap and then sadly told her I couldn’t go to dinner with her best friend Olivia. So Carter went without me. I continued to decline feeling like I could die, but it was not until midnight that I was the most violently ill I have ever been. Not wanting Carter to have to deal with it I cleaned up after myself. Thankfully I was able to go back to sleep.

This morning Russ got me an earlier flight and I somehow made it home. It is all a little fuzzy, as I slept on the plane and came home and went right back to sleep and just now woke up feeling much improved.

It was a terrible way to end my shortened visit to Carter in Boston. She was sweet to take care of me, but next time I guess a I should stay in a hotel just in case.

Sick in Boston

Hi Everyone! This is Carter, Dana’s daughter who she is visiting. Somehow my mom began feeling really ill this afternoon, so I am writing this blog. She missed a lovely seafood dinner with my friends. While we missed her, I really do hope she feels better. I was sick last weekend and it was horrible. Luckily she is not alone.

So if you nice people could send her some notes and thoughts of getting better it would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully she is better by tomorrow as she has to fly back to NC.

I’m sure she will update you all soon, once she is better.